Council needs to watch finances closely

Published 1:36 am Friday, September 25, 2009

A week from today, the Selma City Council will sit down for the first time to publicly discuss the budget that will guide city spending for the upcoming fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

The council has had a copy of the 60-page proposed budget handed to them by Mayor George Evans for about a week.

Yet, nobody has said a word about the document and a couple of the council members when asked about it said they didn’t know where they had placed their copy.

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All we, the tax-paying public, know about this budget is what Evans said in a public meeting. It’s balanced, if the $12 million bond issue passes. It has returned the 12.5 percent pay reduction taken several months ago from city employees. It has some new positions penciled in for more city workers.

Common sense dictates that a government body with as many financial issues as this one has had would want to sit down and review this proposed budget as closely and as publicly as possible.

The vote on the bond might well be a confidence vote on the actions so far of the Selma City Council.

Setting policy and the budget are two key tasks handed to city councils across this state.

So far, Selma’s council has performed poorly in taking a hands-on, blue pencil approach to the finances of the city.

Perhaps we’ll see something next week — the first day of the new fiscal year.